Mike Matheny: Matt Holliday “continues to show us he’s going to be an option” at first base

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

There was some offseason talk that Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday would get some work at first base, but GM John Mozeliak tamped down that buzz, saying that the outfield “is probably the best spot for him.”

Holliday started at first base during Thursday’s exhibition game against the Tigers and made a nifty defensive play. After the game, manager Mike Matheny said, “He continues to show us he’s going to be an option over there,” per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

When a lefty starter is on the hill against the Cardinals, Holliday would likely start at first base and Tommy Pham would likely start in the outfield. Playing first base also allows the Cardinals the flexibility to trade Matt Adams.

Holliday, 36, has never played first base in his professional career, spending the entirety of his nearly 14,000 career defensive innings in left field. The veteran battled a quad injury last season, limiting him to 73 games. Nevertheless, he still showed proficiency at the plate, hitting .279/.394/.410 with 21 extra-base hits, 35 RBI, and 24 runs scored in 277 plate appearances.